“The Shiva Syndrome” by Alan Joshua

5/28/15

This was a thrilling book. A mystery of mind boggling proportions that not everyone is going to figure out. At the crux of this story is a government program that has gone haywire. This, by itself, shouldn’t be anything new, but the problem with this program going bad, is that it could destroy the world.

The start of the book reminds me of “The Andromeda Strain”. Our main character, Dr. Beaufort Walker, “Beau” for short, is recalled by his former boss to come work on a highly secret program. This is the same boss that not too long ago, fired Beau and practically ruined his professional career.

Anyway, his former boss sends some Marines to bring Beau back to work, but they don’t exactly have an easy time of it. Beau finally agrees to go with them after which he’s taken to a remote runway where an Navy F-16 Hornet awaits. He’s put into a flight suit and give some preliminary instructions and they take off. The pilot doesn’t know why Beau is being taken to their destination, but he does know that he’s to deliver him from Philadelphia to Randolph AFB, TX (my old stomping grounds).

Once at Randolph, Beau meets his former Boss and they have a “rousing good conversation”. His former boss, Burton Grimes, tells Beau, he needs him for an investigation and a program that he can’t talk about until they get airborne again. Beau decides not to kill Grimes even after Grimes tells him he’s either in or his career, such as it is, is completely dead.

You see, Beau, is a psychologist and he was an Army psychologist for three years. He left that after having some very heated ethical debates with Grimes. Beau is also something else that makes him even more important to Grimes. But, Grimes paints such an interesting and challenging story about what he might be getting into, that Beau eventually accepts. They then board a huge 747 and are off…to Russia!

Ok, now remember that Beau is a psychologist. On the plane he meets with about four or five other people all with Dr. as their first name! I’m not going to list them all or tell you who they are because you’ll get very familiar with each one of them as you read the story. Let’s just say, these people are very, very intelligent and the conversations they have can be quite challenging to us with just Mr. or Ms. as our first names.

Still, this story takes some very exciting twists and turns. It is science fiction or at least I hope the majority of it is science fiction, it better be, really, they can’t be dumb enough to be doing this stuff for real, right?

I think most of you will be able to follow the story along pretty well. It gets kind of weird towards the end and you’ll have to kind of concentrate on what’s going on, but I think you’ll understand if you just read carefully. I know you’re probably going to lose some sleep over this book. Some of the stuff you read about will probably keep you awake, but just remember it’s all science fiction, not real, maybe, mostly!

I liked the book because it did mostly sound real. This stuff could be happening somewhere by some group of people. I hope not because it could go wrong and then we wouldn’t be reading anything, ever!

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